Agbiz has submitted its written inputs on the Draft Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill to amend section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation to the chairperson of the Ad Hoc Commitee, Dr Mathole Motshekga. The Bill was approved in early December before it was opened for public comment. In the submission, Agbiz reiterated its position that land reform objectives can be achieved without resorting to expropriation at nil compensation, if the administrative process is overhauled to ensure efficient administration.
On Friday 17 January, the acting director general of the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DWS) published a notice in the Government Gazette requiring all irrigators to install water meters and report their monthly consumption. This notice specifically relates to those water users who do not form part of a water user association nor an irrigation board. Water users were given 30 working days to comply. - Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence
This year’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) sees a marked deterioration in the budget deficit which is now at 6.2% of GDP from 4.7% in the February budget speech, which is far worse than expected. The key problem has largely been the lack of economic growth as well as mismanagement of Eskom finances. South Africa’s economy is now projected to grow by sub-1% this year and improve marginally to 1.2% in 2020. The efficient collection of tax remains a challenge but we trust this will change with the appointment of a new SARS Commissioner who is focused on rebuilding the institution. - Agbiz media statement
This has not been a good year for the global wool industry. The world’s top two wool-producing countries – Australia and South Africa — are experiencing different, yet growth-constraining, challenges. In South Africa, the challenge is trade-related. Earlier this year, China, which accounts for roughly 71% of South Africa’s wool exports, temporarily stopped buying the country’s wool. This was because of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Limpopo. The impact of this ban was immediately felt across the industry and sheep-farming communities of South Africa. The local authorities responded to the cries and started engaging with their Chinese counterparts in efforts to ensure that wool trade resumes between the two countries. But there hasn’t been a complete success thus far. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist
Preliminary data from South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) suggest that the country could harvest 1.92 million tonnes of wheat in the 2019/20 production season. If this materialises, it would be the biggest harvest in a decade. The catalyst for the optimistic outlook is both the increase in area planted and also prospects for good weather conditions, which in turn would potentially boost the yields. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist
On Sunday, the Presidency released the final report of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. The release of this report was highly anticipated and therefore attracted a flurry of media coverage. At this juncture it is worth taking stock of the process and considering the effect which the recommendations may have on land reform policy. Theo Boshoff, Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence
The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey data (Q2: 2019) show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment fell by 0.2% from the corresponding period last year to 842 000. The subsectors that faced a notable reduction were mainly field crops, the game industry and forestry. In the case of field crops, the reduction in employment was unsurprising following a reduction in activity in the fields on the back of a poor harvest in the 2018/19 season, all of which is underpinned by unfavourable weather conditions earlier in the season. From a regional perspective, a notable decline in employment was recorded in the Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo, whilst other provinces saw a marginal uptick. - Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz chief economist.
“The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has noted the release of the report by the Presidential Land Reform and Agriculture Advisory Panel for public comment today. Agbiz will study the report and its recommendations in detail and respond according to its mandated policy positions on land reform and agriculture,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, said today. - Agbiz media statement
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), of which Agbiz is a member, recently launched an innovative, web-based resource on labour matters in conjunction with the CCMA. The web tool is designed to assist small businesses who do not have the resources required to hire in-house legal council or HR managers with key aspects relating to labour law.